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Fannie in the Kitchen: The Whole Story from Soup to Nuts of How Fannie Farmer Invented Recipes with Precise Measurements Paperback – August 1, 2004

18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Young Marcia Shaw is not thrilled to hear that a mother's helper named Fannie Farmer is joining her Victorian household to cook for the growing family. Somehow, though, it's hard to complain when suddenly the blueberry pies are "sweeter than a summer sky" and the biscuits are "small, light, and flaky. Just delicious." In spite of herself, Marcia quickly becomes an avid fan and ardent student of Fannie, even encouraging her to begin writing precise instructions to her cookery magic, thus spawning one of the first published cookbooks, Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, a.k.a. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

Considered the pioneer of the modern recipe, Fannie Farmer transformed countless kitchens into oases of exact measurements and perfect cooking. Deborah Hopkinson's fictionalized account, complete with original griddle cakes recipe, is a warm, humorous take on the real Fannie Farmer. Nancy Carpenter created splendidly original illustrations for the book, manipulating 19th-century etchings and engravings and blending them with her own watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations. Wonderful! (Ages 4 to 8) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Prepared to perfection and served up with style, this historical nugget imagines an interlude in the life of cookbook pioneer Fannie Farmer, who, prior to her stint at the Boston Cooking School, worked as a mother's helper. As Hopkinson (Maria's Comet) envisions it, the daughter of the house--who has a touch of the Eloise gene--is not at all pleased with Fannie's arrival. "I'm your helper," the spunky Marcia protests to her mother, but she soon becomes an acolyte: "Fannie seemed like a magician who could make mashed potatoes fluffier than clouds and blueberry pies sweeter than a summer sky." Marcia's many culinary flops, on the other hand, from discovering that she has cracked a rotten egg into her batter to flipping a griddle cake onto the cat, ultimately inspire the unflappable Fannie to write down precise instructions in a precursor to her immortal cookbook. Cleverly served up in seven brief "courses," the proceedings are garnished with Carpenter's irreverent illustrations, which seamlessly incorporate period engravings within pen-and-wash drawings. Her scenes wittily spoof Victorian decorum, whether showing the perfectly coiffed and coutured lady of the house greedily licking her plate or the initially sullen Marcia, slumped in a chair with her back to the reader, her scowl reflected in a pair of water glasses, a gravy boat and a decanter. The biographical afterword and an appended pancake recipe are simply icing on the (griddle) cake. Ages 4-9.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 4
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin (August 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689869975
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689869976
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #746,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Deborah Hopkinson is as award-winning of picture books, fiction, and nonfiction for young readers. In 2013 she received a Robert F. Sibert Honor and YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award honor for Titanic: Voices from the Disaster.

She has won the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Text twice, for A Band of Angels and Apples to Oregon. Sky Boys, How They Built the Empire State Building, was a Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor awardee. She lives near Portland, Oregon.

The Great Trouble, A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel won the OCTE Oregon Spirit Award and was named a Best Book of 2013 by School Library Journal and an Oregon Book Award finalist.

Deborah's forthcoming books in 2015-16 include: nonfiction about WWII entitled Courage & Defiance; Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig, illustrated by Charlotte Voake; a middle grade novel called A Bandit's Tale, The Muddled Misadventures of a Pickpocket; a picture book about sea turtles called Follow the Moon Home (with Philippe Cousteau), and a historical fiction picture book entitled Steamboat School, illustrated by Ron Husband.

Visit her on the web at www.deborahhopkinson.com and follow her on Twitter at @deborahopkinson.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am an educator who likes to use historical fiction with elementary students. Students love the story of FANNIE IN THE KITCHEN, and we have also used the book to talk about how cooking has changed over the years. I bring in old kitchen utensils from antique stores to show them. (Many kids can't identify a sifter, to say nothing of a butter mold! And when was the last time you saw a doughnut cutter??) We also use the book as a jumping off point to talk about math and measurements.
Although this is clearly a humourous, fictionalized take-off on a footnote to history, students and I also enjoy talking about how young Marcia must adjust to change, as her mother has a new baby. The way the illustrator depicts the developing relationship between Marcia and Fannie is delightful.
As the author note states, Fannie Farmer was one of the first to recommend precise measurements in cooking. What a fun way for kids to be introduced to this 19th century figure
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Roz Levine on August 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Little Marcia was not very happy the day her mother announced that before the new baby's born, a woman named Fannie Farmer was coming to live with them to cook and be a mother's helper. Marcia didn't think her mother needed any more helpers. She could already wash the clothes until they were spotless, polish the oil lamps until they shined and even make candles. Though she tried to discourage this mother's helper idea, Fannie Farmer arrived right on schedule. Marcia tried to dislike her, but Fannie's easy manner and engaging ways made them fast friends in no time. In fact, Fannie was an excellent cook and willing to teach and share her culinary knowledge and pretty soon, Marcia was cooking perfect biscuits and pancakes, choosing the ripest melons at market and even testing the freshness of eggs. There was only one big problem. Fannie had all that information in her head and it was way too much for Marcia to remember. "...what if I wrote out precise instructions for you? Then you could cook exactly as I do." And just like that, the Fannie Farmer Cookbook was born..... Deborah Hopkinson has taken some historical facts, mixed in a little fiction and written a delightful picture book about Fannie Farmer and her creation of the modern recipe and cookbook. Her clever story, divided into "courses" instead of chapters, is charming, witty and includes some of Fannie's helpful cooking hints. Nancy Carpenter's wonderfully inventive artwork combines period engravings with pen and ink watercolor illustrations, which complement the story beautifully and give the book a real turn of the century look and feel. With "Fannie Farmer's Famous Griddle Cakes" recipe included, as well as a short biography at the end of the story to fill in more detail, Fannie in the Kitchen is just perfect for youngsters 4-8 and it's a safe bet to assume that you'll be eating delicious, made from scratch pancakes, in the very near future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mcHaiku on October 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
"FANNIE" is a delicious concoction, NOT to be missed. In order to read other reviews & find ordering information for other editions, clik on ISBN #068981965X. By going there you will be able to vote your opinion about this review, also! If you are a "scrapbooker" you will discover many ideas in the clever drawings & collages that illustrate this imaginative story.

Deborah Hopkinson is an engaging author, and is herself a prolific writer of *convincing* reviews. Her story about Fannie Farmer is a favorite of mine & will head a list of holiday gift amusements.

In the proper Bostonian household of the Charles Shaw family, Fannie Farmer was hired as a "mother's helper", more specifically a cook. Mrs. Shaw expects a 2nd child; daughter Marcia is 'put out' by being supplanted by someone who will prepare food & do many things Marcia feels she does "extremely well" like polishing lamp chimneys. This lively child, quite capable of getting herself into many scrapes, soon converts to Fannie & her cooking. The story is divided like a menu "from Soup to Nuts" and includes Fannie's trademark "precise measurements" in the recipe for griddle cakes, a bonus bound to please young readers.

The 1896 edition of the Boston Cooking School Cookbook (see review: # 0517186780) played an important role in my childhood. One of Fannie's "hints" incorporated in Nancy Carpenter's hilarious illustrations is: "The mixing & baking of cake requires more care and judgement than any other branch of cookery." Happily, my mother took this to heart and became famous for her F. Farmer chocolate cakes.

Children will discover all sorts of historical objects in the illustrations - - they will doubtless elicit giggles as well as questions and tummy rumbles.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mcHaiku on October 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Deborah Hopkinson is an engaging author, and is herself a prolific writer of *convincing* reviews. Her story about Fannie Farmer is a favorite of mine & tops a list of holiday gift amusements.

In the proper Bostonian household of the Charles Shaw family, Fannie Farmer was hired as a "mother's helper", more specifically a cook. Mrs. Shaw expects a 2nd child; daughter Marcia is 'put out' by being supplanted by someone who will prepare food & do many things Marcia feels she does *extremely well* - - like polishing lamp chimneys. This lively child, quite capable of getting herself into many scrapes, soon converts to admiration for Fannie & her cooking. The story is divided like a menu *from Soup to Nuts* and includes Fannie's trademark *precise measurements* in the recipe for griddle cakes, a BONUS bound to please all readers.

The 1896 edition of the Fannie's[ASIN:0517186780 1896 Boston Cooking-School Cookbook] played an important role in my childhood. One of Fannie's *hints* incorporated in Nancy Carpenter's hilarious illustrations is: "The mixing & baking of cake requires more care and judgement than any other branch of cookery." Happily, my mother took this to heart and became famous for her F. Farmer chocolate cakes.

Children will discover all sorts of historical objects in the illustrations - - these will doubtless elicit giggles as well as questions and tummy rumbles. Nancy Carpenter has made pen & ink sketches that are oh-so-cleverly *collaged* with period engravings on a computer, then printed and hand colored. Ingenious as well as educational, the pages also have a quaint and comical look. The match-ups of text & illustrations are thoroughly entertaining even when readers are not familiar with the name of Fannie Farmer.
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